Re: [Fwd: NDPR David Shoemaker, Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction]

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 16:41:00 +0100

On 23 Feb 2009, at 00:39, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> 2009/2/23 Bruno Marchal <>:
>> From a logical point of view Shoemaker is right. You can say "no" for
>> many reasons to the doctor.
>> The copy will not even behave as you.
>> The copy will behave like you, but is a phi-zombie.
>> The copy behaves like you and as a soul/personality/consciousness,
>> but
>> yet is not you (and you are dead)
> This last is the problematic one. If it is valid, then it is also
> valid to say that I only live for a moment and continuity of identity
> is only an illusion.

I don't think so. Unless you assume comp, but then to say the copy is
not you has no meaning at all.
This last is not really problematic, it is just equivalent with the
negation of comp.
It is brought by non-comp-people who, on the contrary insist a notion
of continuity which is broken by digital substitution.
For a computationalist, the "continuity" is given by the comp history,
and is not broken by teleportation and the like, not even self-
differentiation through self-duplication.

> Actually, I have no objection to this way of
> speaking, but we would then just have to say that this illusion of
> continuity is just as good as what we hitherto thought was real
> continuity.

I think we agree. Just note that when I don't write "assuming comp" I
consider also the case when comp is false. Perhaps I shouldn't.

>> The copy is you (in Parfit sense: that it is as better than you).
>> And,
>> the copy can be you in deeper and deeper senses (roughly speaking up
>> to the unspeakable "you = ONE").
>> I talk here on the first person "you". It is infinite and unnameable.
>> Here computer science can makes those term (like "unnameable") much
>> more precise.
> I don't see how the copy could be me in a deeper sense than having all
> my thoughts, memories etc. It would be like saying that if I wave my
> magic wand over you you will become specially blessed, even though
> nothing will actually change either subjectively or objectively.

The copy could be you in the deeper sense that it could be you even in
the case where he loses some memory, all memories, or in case he got
new memories, including false souvenirs. But then it is like in the
movie "the prestige", your brother can be you. This path leads to the
idea that we are already all the same person. It is "not being the
other" which is an illusion in that case. I don't insist on this
because we don't need to see that arithmetic is the theory of
everything (and that physics comes from there). But it is needed for
the "other hypostases" and the whole theological point.


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Received on Mon Feb 23 2009 - 10:41:14 PST

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